Learn to Work vol 12

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education-to-employment, where all the job seekers are above average …

As a quick reminder — if you like any of this stuff, the biggest way you can chip in is by helping build our community. Please invite others to sign up here and join our Learn to Work LinkedIn group here!

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing? Thanks peeps!

Dai

Story Hour

I loved this personal story from Kepler’s long lost twin Match Beyond — about the relationship between student James Normil and coach Bob Hill and how it helped fuel James’ persistence through the College for America program. Check out the amazing (and far too common) snapshot at the bottom illustrating James’ crazy path through higher education, culminating in an Associate’s degree 12 years and 4 colleges after first enrolling in college straight out of high school. The relationship at the center of the story reminds me of the anecdote I shared at the end of vol. 8 — about how a professor who “bonded her life to mine” helped keep one amazing student from dropping out of college.

Thought Pieces

Interesting “Boots to Books” podcast on the military-to-college/civilian employment challenge from American Radio Works (which consistently puts out great stuff like this other podcast on teacher training / Japanese-style “lesson study”). It’s nothing short of criminal how we leave returning vets high and dry when it comes to transitioning back into employment / study — and is currently screwing millions of people that way as the huge waves of vets from Iraq/Afghanistan come home. This podcast is also a fascinating history of the GI Bill which was the game-changer for higher ed in the 20th century (like land-grant colleges in the 19th).

Recommended Reads

Also, check out this cool offer from community member Srikant Vasan whose venture Skillstore seeks to transform soft skills training using live video practice and peer feedback. “We’re now kicking off our next phase of growth by inviting our friends and acquaintances and their organizations to try SkillStore. We’re letting them get some of our popular modules for free, forever – so long as they sign up by March 31. There’s no long-term commitment – we just want people to check us out.”

All the News That’s Fit to Print

  • Vocational ed and alternative pathways/credentials
    • BBC – Vocational Education’s Global Gap – While the vocational program gap exists globally, it is acutely felt in the US, where there are only 400k apprentices, half as many as in the UK. Part of this is social stigma around vocational ed. (Related: for those of you who subscribe to Chronicle of Higher Ed – Should the US Become a Nation of Apprentices?)
    • Helpful overview paper via EdCentral on the need for training/work-based pathways to bachelor’s degrees — good read if you haven’t read much on CTE / vocational / etc.
    • Hechinger with data on how, as a prospective vocational/CTE student, you really need to pick your spots for it to pay off (and sadly you’re unlikely to be armed with the right info given the piss-poor state of advising/support)
  • Miscellaneous

And here it is, your moment of Zen — have been meaning to share this: late last year at a debate, Marco Rubio made the case for more vocational programs: “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” What we really need is fewer candidates in the Republican race. But for what it’s worth, philosophers make more than welders (and both have a better business model than newsletter writers).

 

 

Learn to Work vol. 11

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education-to-employment, where all the job seekers are above average…

This edition of Learn to Work is brought to you by Will Houghteling, North American lead at Minerva. Minerva is a new, accredited university program designed by a former Harvard Dean and a successful entrepreneur to rethink top-tier higher ed for the 21st century (and beyond). Minerva students live in seven of the world’s greatest cities during their four years of college, attending class in small active learning seminars throughout. Will is currently hiring a student outreach manager — please email him (will@minerva.kgi.edu) if you know anyone who may be a match.

If anyone else is interested in guest-posting please let me know! I’d love to do more of this over time.

As always if you know people who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here. Also, still looking for the next CEO of Spire so keep the ideas coming!

Dai

All the News That’s Fit to Print

  • Future of work (particularly WRT automation)
    • The Atlantic Magazine’s summer cover story on A World Without Work
    • World Economic Forum Agenda – Can we predict which jobs will be replaced by robots? Robots won’t replace jobs in whole, but in part (and for everyone, not just low skilled jobs). What parts of job descriptions can and can’t be automated? Education should focus on improving the non automatable pieces (eg data science may not be as important in the future if that’s something we could outsource to AI).
    • The MIT Technology Review – Work in Transition – the jobs of the future will require creative, innovative and flexible workers — major curricular/pedagogical challenge of current ed is determining how we can teach that directly rather than hope and pray students picks it up in liberal arts education through osmosis while studying more traditional content classes?
    • Forbes – How to thrive after college — 3 obvious but underrated skills – one basic way to view the gap between employers and universities is that universities are in individualized content memorization business whereas employers are in the collaborative problem solving business. Employers want students with metacognitive skills (oral communication, problem solving in diverse areas, interact effectively with peers) rather than just subject-area understanding.
  • E-Portfolios:
  • Graduation rates:
  • Competency based ed update
    • 5 Steps to Successful Competency Based Programs in Education Dive … generally a vanilla piece includes one important stat: there are reportedly >600 schools either currently or in-development to enroll students in competency-based programs (not just WGU anymore). Is this a gold-rush for easier tuition dollars, or a genuinely innovative way to teach and learn? If one large goal of these programs is to assess what people already know, seems like eportfolios or college exit exams may be better/faster/cheaper approach.
  • The Three Horsemen of the Education Apocalypse, aka, MOOC update

Learn to Work vol. 10

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education-to-employment, where all the job seekers are above average …

In the Stop the Presses! category:

  • One small step in moving Learn to Work from newsletter toward community: just set up a LinkedIn group for us in case some of y’all cats in the Learn to Work community want to connect with some of the other hamburglers and cheeseburglers in the crew, and share your own updates/job opps/blogging/etc. Some amazing people in our midst and everyone’s blind to everyone else! Let’s fix that. Join here!!
  • Exciting news – we’re starting a search for the next CEO of Spire to take us into the next phase of our growth as my co-founder Oliver R begins to spend more time in the US late next year. This is an opportunity to take the reins of a successful, rapidly-growing startup and build a transformative model with the future of Africa’s talent pool at stake. I’d really appreciate it if you could spread the word and put me in touch with anyone who might be intrigued and open to a no-strings-attached chat.

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing? H/t Rachel Romer Carlson for flagging one of the pieces below on apprenticeships and Molly Lindsay for the Yglesias piece

If you know anyone else who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here. Great wave of new signups after the last blast. Thanks peeps!

Dai

Thought Pieces

  • In education-to-employment training, I’d argue nothing is more ballgame that culture — the team culture among the staff doing the training, and the student/trainee culture. This fascinating Invisibilia podcast on blind children learning to echolocate (and ride bikes! among other things) is a powerful illustration of how high expectations produce amazing things. I’d put high expectations right up there with growth mindset as my top 2 culture draft picks in my fantasy culture draft. And the beauty of these culture instruments is they’re free! No hit to your cost structure.

Special Feature: How the Landscape of Job Search and Employer Hiring Practices is Changing

All the News that’s Fit to Print

  • Bootcamp stuff …. the Fed gov’t push to experiment w making bootcamp programs Federal-aid-eligible seems to be coinciding with a wave of college-bootcamp partnership innovation … not sure what the chicken-egg relationship is but who cares, great to see!
    • I’m jazzed up about this partnership between SNHU and Flatiron School to provide success-coach-supported online bootcamp experience and (for those who want it) path to bachelor’s degree built around Flatiron, “coop”-style with bootcamp + internship as part of 4-yr experience. Can’t for life of me understand why more universities aren’t taking a page out of the playbook of Northeastern, Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier, etc. on integrating real-world work-based learning into college. SNHU continues to put other universities to shame when it comes to innovation
    • Big-name traditional universities (Northeastern, MIT) getting into bootcamp space — key differentiating feature could be stackable masters
    • Google co-developed curriculum for a bootcamp program (w/General Assembly) for the first time – hope to see more of this
  •  Apprenticeships

News on the Home Team

  • See infographic below from our community members at Harambee in South Africa — such fantastic progress and it’s accelerating!
  • Thanks again for your help getting the word out about the Spire CEO search!

 Harambee

Learn to Work vol. 9

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education to employment, where all the job seekers are above average …

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing? Snaps to E2E warriors Gagan Singh Rana, Jake Weissbourd and Oliver Rothschild for sharing a few of the snippets below

If you know anyone else who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here. Just hit our first 100 community members — please keep spreading the word!

Dai

Thought Pieces

  • Check out this fascinating piece from the NYT Mag on Xavier Univ. of Louisiana, a historically black college in NOLA, that blows up the stats on getting black students to and through medical school. What does it do differently? Just the basics: culture and rigorous execution. “We decided we could do something about it. And what we did, what our faculty did, was just plain common sense.’’ Long article so key excerpt pasted in below if you’re pressed for time. I was so excited to come across this. Kills me that more colleges and career services offices don’t even really try to run this playbook!!

All the News that’s Fit to Print

News on the Home Team

__________

When Johnson walked through the door of Carmichael’s office, it meant the program was working as planned. The quizzes Johnson did so poorly on in his first few weeks were designed as part of Xavier’s early-­alert system. Carmichael believed that a student needed to know he was failing long before he took his midterm exam. He connected Johnson to tutoring centers set up for each of his science courses. There, Johnson met students from other classes, and they began holding large study groups led by a particularly brilliant classmate who would quickly learn the material and then teach it to others. Students would stay up until the wee hours of the morning helping one another. ‘‘You have almost a hundred kids asking questions, discussing the material,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘To see the material broken down that way was just amazing. And if you didn’t get it, they’d explain it again. And if you still didn’t get it, they’d explain it again.’’

These study groups encouraged just the sort of collaboration Francis had imagined. ‘‘It took the competition out of it,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘It wasn’t, ‘I’m mad because you got an A.’ It was, ‘How do we both do that on the next test?’ We had this feeling if we all stuck together and helped each other, we would make it.’’ Marybeth Gasman, an education professor and the head of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions, which does research on and assists colleges that serve large numbers of black, Latino, Asian and Native American students, has carefully examined Xavier’s program and says no school is better at developing students’ shared responsibility for one another’s success. ‘‘It is dumbfounding to see,’’ she said.

What makes Xavier’s program most unusual is its strictly tailored uniform curriculum in freshman chemistry and biology. The faculty members collaborate on what they will teach and create a workbook for these courses that every professor must use. If professors want to teach something not in a workbook, they must present it to the faculty group for approval. The workbooks take the complicated material in science textbooks, which often overwhelms students, and specifies, step by step, everything students need to know for the class. The faculty members then incorporate regular tests and drills, not only to assess students but also to evaluate whether professors need to adjust their teaching. ‘‘This is fundamentally different than the way curriculum is taught across the country,’’ Gasman said. ‘‘What happens with faculty in general: We don’t want anyone telling us what to do in our classes; we pick our textbooks; we know what is right for our students. But they teach to where the students are and not just the way they want to teach.’’

Just as critical to Xavier’s success is the blueprint it created to help students navigate every step in the process of becoming desirable medical-­school candidates. ‘‘Our formula is built on believing there is no point in time where a pre-med student at this university shouldn’t know what they ought to be doing to get into medical school,’’ Quo Vadis Webster, Xavier’s current pre-med adviser, told me. By the end of the first semester, Johnson and other pre-med students needed to turn in the first of many personal statements that were critiqued by the university’s writing center. These essays, written and rewritten several times, would eventually become the ones included in their medical-­school applications.

Johnson attended weekly meetings with Carmichael, at which he continually received checklists and timelines, learned of research and internship opportunities and met graduates who spoke firsthand about getting into medical school. The pre-med office had Johnson and his classmates gather their letters of recommendation early, made sure they were good enough and then kept them on file until they were needed. Johnson prepared for his MCATs with the help of professors, whom Carmichael had instructed to take the exams themselves so they would know what their students should expect. Wearing a suit and tie, Johnson took part in mock interviews. And when the time came, Carmichael looked over every inch of Johnson’s application to make sure it would pass muster before he sent it out. Webster noted that wealthy students at elite schools pay thousands of dollars to agencies that help perfect their medical-­school applications and for courses that help prepare them for the medical exams. Xavier’s pre-med office, with a dedicated staff of two, provides nearly all of these services free.

Former students told me again and again that Carmichael’s involvement was something akin to fierce parenting; he believed in his students and would not let them fail. He would stand in the hall, near a wall decorated with the photos of smiling Xavierites who had become doctors, and reprimand students who professors reported had missed a class or a deadline. Students had to turn in cards signed by their professors showing how they had done on quizzes. Carmichael would send letters to parents on brightly colored paper saying, ‘‘Your child wants to go to medical school,’’ but warning that for some reason, the student hadn’t done x, y and z. If that didn’t work, he would pick up the phone and call a student’s home. ‘‘There is a constant monitoring,’’ Francis said. ‘‘We expect you to learn, and if you need support, you are going to get it.’’ He has a name for this system: love and pain.

Learn to Work vol. 8

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education to employment, where all the job seekers are above average … and sorry for the long delay since the last one! Another one coming soon with a special focus on innovation in the landscape of job search

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing? Snaps to community members Rachel Romer-Carlson, Jake Weissbourd and Anand Venkatesan for sharing some of the pieces below.

If you know anyone else who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here. Close to hitting our first 100 community members — please spread the word!

Dai

Thought Pieces

  • Stepping outside our E2E cocoon, guessing some of you have listened to the recent This American Life podcasts on school integration. If not, definitely worth a listen. On the one hand, it’s unbelievable that an NPR flagship is out there claiming that school integration is the only evidence-backed way to close the achievement gap (“the only thing that’s ever worked”). On the other hand, the story from Ferguson MO (no coincidence) is powerful and it is surprising how school integration has become a (relatively) small feature of the national ed reform conversation after the many failed attempts in the past. Reaction podcast from Justin Cohen and Chris Stewart here and thoughtful Slate 2014 piece on school integration (and more importantly community/housing integration) here. I wish I knew the data/evidence on school integration better and am planning to read more soon.

All the News that’s Fit to Print

  • Is government waking up on E2E?
    • Hilary Clinton launches the first big ed-to-employment salvo of the presidential campaign. It’s a real hodgepodge — initiatives on student loans (incl human capital loans / income-based repayment), college completion/ROI, etc. — but one exciting and nugget is Title IV $ eligibility for job skills bootcamps. Hilary’s not the only one starting to push for that; feels like just a matter of time
    • Fascinating: UK getting all mandatory about job search training for unemployed young folks
    • San Francisco making learning to code part of core curriculum city-wide
    • Federal court ruling making it easier for employers to offer unpaid internships — esp when directly connected to some formal learning experience/program. Can see this playing out in good and bad/exploitative ways, but hopefully it increases total volume of internship opportunities
  • Chinese university starting to experiment with selling its graduates to employers. What’s a university’s core product — its education experience, or its graduates?
  • Universities and employers, yeah we hookin’ back up — check out the fascinating positioning of this joint Teen Vogue / Parsons School of Design credential, similar to this Pace / Media storm social media/marketing master’s program I shared in an earlier update, and the new Coursera/Udacity strategic direction. Trend is official
  • Depressing — though not entirely surprising — early results from the Kalamazoo Promise, the program in Kalamazoo MI that gives full college scholarships to all high school grads in the city. College completion results haven’t budged much despite the free $$. Full Brookings data/discussion of it here if you want to dive in

News on the Home Team

New Ventures

  • Couple other interesting ventures I’ve come across recently for the first time, worth keeping an eye on

Story Hour

What does it take to make it through — high school, college, job? A guy I met not long ago named Emmanuel grew up in a single-mom Haitian family household of 11 kids in Miami. He did well in school through 9th grade, then had to take time out of school to earn money to help the family make ends meet. Struggled to get back on track, but stuck with it and graduated with good grades in the end. At (dropout factory) high school graduation, something like 100 of the 300 seniors had met graduation requirements. Unbelievably, they had all 300 students show up for the graduation ceremony and sit up on stage in bleachers behind the podium — but then after calling the 100 students (who were all seated in front) who were graduating up to the podium to receive their diplomas, they then dropped the curtain without warning in front of the remaining 200 who were empty-handed. End of ceremony. No explanation, no kind words or apology, just — boom.

Then Emmanuel goes on to Univ of Florida. Does well his freshman year, but start of sophomore years his mom tragically passes away, leaving Emmanuel as the eldest sibling. Emmanuel drops out to head home to take care of his younger siblings. A UF professor he’d connected with during freshman year dials him up, and says, ‘come back — I want to see you get through college. You need to do this. I’ll do whatever it takes.’ He finds a way to make it work, goes back the following year, graduates, goes on to Teach for America, then Deloitte. Thriving now — and clearly someone who’s going to be a leader and builder of great things down the road. Reflecting on nearly dropping out of college, and what kept him in, he said about the professor who reached out and stuck with him: “someone bonded her life to mine.”

Learn to Work vol. 7

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education to employment, where all the job seekers are above average …

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing? Big shout to Molly Lindsay for sharing some of the stuff below. And congrats to Molly on her new gig as VP Content at Grovo. Really want this to become more of a community & exchange than a newsletter over time — if anyone has suggestions along those lines let me know!

If you know anyone else who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here

Dai

Thought Pieces

  • NYT on companies pushing the envelope with ‘hiring by algorithm‘ partly to overcome hiring manager bias toward hiring people they’d want to hang out with
  • Ryan Craig on college as next pay-for-performance frontier? (referencing how online advertising has started moving toward pay-for-performance advertising in form of “cost per action” pricing)
  • I’ve been thinking about jails and jobs a lot recently — in the wake of Kalief Browder’s tragic death, the John Oliver segment on bail, and other recent reminders of just how f’ed up our criminal justice system has become. As if getting a job wasn’t hard enough for low-income folks without a CORI Scarlet A to deal with. Caught this in Nextdraft: “About the time Katrina struck, New Orleans was the jail capital of America, incarcerating people at four times the national average. Since that time, the city has reduced its local inmate population by 67%. What was the trick? First, they stopped treating jailing like a business. And second, they built a smaller jail. No really. That was a key factor. And get this; during the period New Orleans stopped jailing so many people, there has been an overall reduction in crime. Smaller jails. Less crime.” And I’d bet: less unemployment.

All the News that’s Fit to Print

  • Fast Company on first grads of P-Tech (grades “9 through 14” model in NY with IBM partnership — have heard execution at P-Tech leaves to be desired, but like the model)
  • Top jobs for 2015 college grads by #s, growth rate, salary, satisfaction level (my personal pet / fave Salesforce.com Administrator shows up in satisfaction and $)
  • Forbes on how MOOCs are being used in corporate learning
  • First category-wide numbers I’ve seen on current/future coding bootcamp enrollments (also salary/tuition data)
  • Forbes on innovators in experiential higher ed (note this is skewed heavily toward elite programs) — I find the experiential programs like Match Beyond targeting lower-income students / middle-skill jobs even more interesting
  • Lydia Dishman in Fast Company on “Jobs of the Future – and How to Get Them
  • Fullbridge raises $15M round

News on the Home Team

  • Andela closes another promising round (psyched to be sharing office space with the Andela team in Nairobi now!)
  • We were honored to have SNHU President Paul LeBlanc come to Rwanda with SNHU trustees & students over the past couple weeks to celebrate Kepler’s first graduating class. (pic below)

Ceremony

Learn to Work vol. 6

Here’s the latest sweep from the world of education to employment, where all the job seekers are above average …

Anything you’ve seen recently worth sharing?

If you know anyone else who might be interested in these updates, have them add their email here

Some inspiration to start the week — check out the pic below of Hubert Euyishime in Rwanda finding out he got a college scholarship. Future ≠ past.

Dai

  • This piece by Ryan Craig on full-stack higher ed ventures got me thinking, and is spot-on about jobs being top of the stack. Why are almost all the ventures I find most compelling in higher ed full-stack? (same in healthcare). I think it’s because incumbents and money-chasers in education / healthcare / other service industries throw technology at unchanged service delivery  as if it’s going to disrupt something – e.g., EMRs in healthcare, iPads in education. But the ballgame in healthcare, education, etc. is using tech to reinvent service delivery end-to-end. In other words, full stack. Think job/dev bootcamps like Koru, GA, Andela; degree programs like Match Beyond, Kepler, etc. The current service delivery model is too f’ed up to toy around the edges with tech “solutions.”
  • Liked (mostly) this piece in Fortune about seven signs you may be clueless about income inequality: “If you live near a Whole Foods; If no relative of yours serves in the military; If you’re paid by the year, not the hour; If no one you know uses meth; If you married once and remain married; If most people you know finished college; If you aren’t one of 65 million Americans with a criminal record.” Punchline of the piece: if you really want to make a difference to inequality, do it with your day job – not on the side.
  • Fred Wilson commenting on MIT Sloan professors’ work on “The Great Decoupling” – how employment/wages no longer grow nearly as quickly as labor productivity. Familiar story – creates big challenge for jobs/wages, esp lower-skilled jobs. If you like macro stuff their recent book “The Second Machine Age” looks worth a read. Fascinating infographic emerging from their work here. One of them gave a TED talk on ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’ also worth watching. Countervailing macro trend is drop in labor supply in many places (see Rainer Strack TED talk I shared a few months back).
  • Piece in WaPo about how colleges could adapt to produce better job outcomes — including more focus on SMBs and internships, which is spot on. Internships are the new entry level job.
  • From the industry formerly known as MOOCs:
  • Economist on rapid growth in corporate universities / in-housing training
  • Fortune piece on the market for employment-oriented online training (Desire2Learn, Pluralsight, etc.) with a new punned-out catchphrase – ‘hire learning’
    • Piece also mentions a company called Knod that we’ve gotten to know a bit and that recently raised $6M round for blended-learning, job-oriented bachelor’s degree program in US & abroad – feature on Knod here if you’re curious. Partnering with Gene Wade / New Charter in US
  • Brookings taking a new slant on college rankings with ‘distance traveled’ (i.e. ‘value added’) approach — and University Ventures covers it here for short synopsis

News on the home team:

Parting shot – h/t Wu Tang Financial: CONGRATS TO ALL NEW GRADUATES OUT HERE NOW REMEMBER U GOT SIX MONTHS TO FIND A JOB TO PAY YO LOANS OR U BEST ENROLL IN MO SCHOOL TO AVOID EM

Bridge2Rwanda pic_from Medium piece on Kepler 2015